Sunday, December 22, 2013

Contemplation time - New Year's Resolutions

Have you started to contemplate your New Year's Quilty Resolutions?  I have.  I suppose I've been thinking about them a little early this year thanks to some other quilty influences.

For example, Jess at the Elven Garden turned me onto a 6 month Fabric Diet hosted by Rebecca at Making Rebecca Lynne.  At first I thought that joining would be totally ridiculous.  At the time it had been months since I bought any fabric and I had a bunch of projects planned out that would use my existing (rather well-stocked) stash.  So, I didn't think it would be very difficult.  Enter the holiday spending spree.  Clearly, I was in denial.

My husband and I have had a bit of a gift buying agreement since the kids were born.  I have a budget and I buy all the gifts, including mine.  I know my husband and family loves me, and I like this arrangement and don't feel like I am missing any "surprises".  Plus, I usually get things that I doubt anyone would really know I wanted, like a quarter inch walking foot for my machine, or a new size of hexagon paper pieces, and of course, FABRIC.

To say I have gone a little crazy this year with fabric buying is an understatement.  The picture above is just the colored portion of my stash (before all my recent shopping, and not including A LOT of fabric).  I think just considering a fabric diet drove me a bit crazy.  I even ordered things I had absolutely no plan for.  Tisk, tisk.  I almost always have a plan!  But not in this case.  Shameful.  I even went so far as buying myself a gift certificate from one of my favorite online fabric shops - just in case I need something later.  (Never mind that I still have a gift certificate from a store I don't frequent, that I haven't used!)  That kind of defeats the whole purpose of a fabric diet, wouldn't you say?

A fabric diet may also interfere with some of the other intentions I have for 2014, but it would be a challenge, right?

I was reading Deb's post at A Simple Life Quilts, where she was talking about simplifying her quilty life.  She recognized that she works better with a narrow range of focus and has decided to basically quilt for each season and use stash that coordinates with the season in question.  I don't have much in the way of "seasonal" projects, but there is something else that Deb did in 2013, that I could get behind.  She rewarded herself for every 5 and 10 UFO's she finished by allowing herself to purchase a "treat" or start a new project.  Deb has been incredibly inspirational.  She started a countdown in October of 2012 with 101 UFO's, she only has 28 left to go!  I don't actually don't have many UFO's, but I feel like anyone that can accomplish a goal like that can be learned from.  Perhaps the key to narrowing my focus is to reward myself for doing so.

Then there was Sandy from Quilting For The Rest Of Us, who talked about her resolution ideas in her recent podcast.  She mentioned having a quilting "Monkey on Your Back".  I can relate.  My monkey is called "guilt".  As you can see, I feel guilty for buying fabric, but I also feel guilty for not finishing some of my older projects that I am not as excited about any more, and there are a few blocks I owe bee mates (sorry Veena, Irene and Leanne).  Sandy recommends getting that monkey off your back.

Now some of you recognize that the rational plan of action would be to sign up for the fabric diet and finish up what few UFO's I have and get on with it.  Nothing to feel guilty about in that corner.  Well.......the whole idea of it makes me feel like a caged animal.  I just want to BREAK FREE!

I want to create with reckless abandon!  Feel OK not finishing something.  Create an enormous pile of 101 UFO's myself.  Excess!  Waste!  Wind blowing through my unbrushed hair as I gallop across a patchwork wilderness on my white horse.....whoa, got away with myself a little there.  Sorry.  But, I do want to create without guilt.

So what to do?

My checkbook certainly would appreciate a fabric diet, and while I'm at it, I should also limit my Craftsy classes -- I don't know if you noticed the 41 classes I have listed in my Craftsy review page, most of which I have not finished.  Did that stop me from adding a few new classes during their current sale?  Nope!  I was so ashamed of clicking "buy" I couldn't even bring myself to tell you guys about the sale - in case you were in a similar circumstance (No, don't click over there now!!).  Clearly, I need to rein in some of this reckless spending.  It's not like I don't have a stash to work from, or plenty of classes to finish!

Then there is the guilt about unfinished projects.  I'm letting them go.  Or, at least letting the guilt go.  If I work on them, great, if I don't, I don't.  I'm really tired of thinking about some of them.  The only exception are those blocks I owe OTHER people.  It is not fair that they wait any longer.  I have been stumped how to execute an idea I have stuck in my head for Leanne.  But, really I could have easily finished up Veena's block in the meantime, especially since she picked like the easiest theme ever, "flowers".  Perhaps completing one of the 3 would make the other 2 easier to finish up too.  That monkey will get off my back!

Now for the free spirit in me wanting to break out.  I am actually going to free myself of the monkey of having to have a plan.  Why can't I just sit down at my sewing machine and ask myself what I want to work on that day?  I tried that approach back in August and it really seemed to work.  I'm not sure it was my most productive month ever, but I certainly felt better about what I made because I WANTED to make it.

There is one more thing I've been thinking about, and trying to tie into all this introspection.  I have lost some of that connection I had with you guys, and I miss it.  At first I blamed it on the little hiatus I took, but I think it really started before then.  I'm not sure how I am going to do it, but I am going to make an effort to reconnect, WITHOUT obligating myself in new swaps, bees, etc.  I don't want to add another monkey, but I do want improve the friendships I've made in this wonderful quilty experience.

So what am I committing myself to exactly?

  • I am going to sign up for the Fabric Diet and include Craftsy classes in that mix, 
  • BUT I am not going to worry about any UFO's I may have
  • I WILL finish up those Star of Africa blocks, and soon.
  • I'm going to work on things on a whim as it strikes my fancy 
  • I am going to connect, and reconnect with friends.
  • IF I am successful with the above, I will reward myself, at the end of the 6 months, within reason (I hope)
Well, what do you think?  I am crazy?

Thanks for reading,



  1. Read about the fabric diet too Jen but wimped out of committing to it, maybe I need to revisit the idea!

    Know what you mean about the monkey on your back too. I am sure that getting one of your Star of Africa blocks done and dusted will kickstart your creative juices for the remaining two.

  2. It sounds like a good plan. Nothing in excess - including dieting! Only work on what you love is my motto for the New Year.
    E xx

  3. Jen... You are so sweet! Quilters Guilt is the worst because I think it steals our creative joy. And it's tricky because we each have to find our comfort zone and how we work best. It's such an exciting time to be a quilter with so much inspiration - I also have a backlog of Craftsy classes and a huge Make Someday List.

    I've thought about no buy but I think I'm ready for a year of less restrictions. And I think my seasons theme will help keep me working the stash and curb my buying of those types of fabrics naturally. But I'll keep adding pretty new collections with a purpose in mind!

    Good luck to you!

  4. This is a great post! I love your take on the whole thing. We should be free to work on whatever we want, whenever we want.
    I feel like I'm going against the crowd right now because I only ever have one or two WIPs at a time (I hate leaving things unfinished), and I just opened a new Etsy shop - now that I'm starting to make a profit, I can finally justify buying all that designer fabric! No fabric fast for me next year! (Besides, I'm pretty sure that's what the last three years have been for me anyway.) :) It's time for me to get serious about this whole thing and 2014 is going to be a year of making what I feel like making!

  5. I am joining in the fabric diet, not because I have tons and tons of fabric, but I do have a full time job and fabric for about 5 projects already bought. So I really want to finish those items. You mentioned projects you aren't really excited about anymore -- well, I did something about that. I had ALL of the blocks made for two lap quilts but I just didn't like them. No particular reason. I donate the pattern and the blocks to an organization that makes charity quilts. Now I make lots of charity quilts but I just didn't want to work on these blocks anymore. The organization put them together and has already donated them and it's only been a couple of months. The relief I felt was unbelievable. Good luck in whatever you decide.

  6. Reasonable and well thought out. Quilting is meant to be fun. Thanks for sharing and I wish you every success.

  7. Great words my friend! I do think the idea of a reward after a few finishes is a good idea!

  8. I feel the same way! Now all I do is think about not buying fabric. I put my list down and I don't need any fabric for my plan so need to stay strong! Good luck!

  9. Jen, I followed your link from the Fabriholics Anonymous sign-up. I'm glad you joined in. I appreciate all you had to say, especially the duality of "make a list" vs. "work on what you want". Whatever combination of organization/freedom works, I say.
    If it's not FUN, why do we do this?
    I look forward to checking in over the six months!


I LOVE comments, they make my day! I may not always respond, but I DO read them...always.

Have a Super Sparkly Day!